Saturday, July 30, 2011

Simple, Cheap, & Easy Old Fashioned Fun for Kids

"Mommy! We're bored!" are the cries and whines I heard from my children today. I had to come up with something and quick! Thoughts were racing through my head. 'Should I let them paint, color, or glue and mess up the pristine dining room that I just spend 2 hours cleaning and organizing?' (That's where the kids do arts and crafts.) NO WAY! That room is off limits! At least until tomorrow.  ;)   Should we do something outside? No it's way to hot! OK, well it has to be done inside and we have limited resources. Let's see what we have; string, and the empty cans from the green beans and peaches we with chicken nuggets had for lunch. Brilliant! Tin can phones!' 

All you need is two cans (make sure you use one of those safety can openers so there won't be and ouchies later), a nail, a hammer, and about 5 feet of sting (any longer and it won't work as well). Use the nail and hammer to puncture a hole in the bottom of both cans then simply slip the string though the holes and tie heafty knots on the stings in the inside part of each can. Bada bing, bada boom! You have instant, simple, easy, cheap old fashioned fun for your kids.  

This activity was a little hard for my 4 year old. She kept forgetting to keep the sting tight . But my 8 year old  found it easy to manipulate. So keep it age appropriate  Also, make sure you wield the hammer and nail unless you are supervising older children.

When I was young we made these with styrofoam cups instead of tin cans and I remembered them working really well and I thought the tin cans we made we not very efficient. (Maybe it's just my generation, with our cell phones and instant gratification and all.) So for dinner we ate ramen in a cup! A styrofoam cup! So we tried again.  

Styrofoam doesn't need a hammer and a nail to poke a hole in the bottom. We just used a regular pen to do the trick.  Plus, I thought it was much easier to feed the sting though the hole in the styrofoam rather than the cans. 

After we got it all assembled we tested out our new contraption. And we all agreed that it worked much better than the cans. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the cans we used were more than likely not made of tin?  I am sure there is science behind it but I will have to call my aunt (The Science Junkie) another time. Or you can just go here: How Stuff Works to find out exactly how these neat, boredom saving toys really work.

"Can you hear me now?"

Thanks for coming to the blog, hope you enjoyed today's post. 


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Something Old to Something New and Blue!

I recently went thrift store shopping with my sister to see if I could find anything that would inspire some creativity. And boy did I find it! Enough to get my  creative juices flowing for about a month as far as the blog is concerned. I am really excited to do all the projects and post them so you can give them a try too! The best thing about all this is that it costs hardly anything! And if you know me, you know that I am such a penny pincher! Anyways, on to the project!

So I found these beauties at a thrift store for $1.00 each! I am going to show you how to re-purpose those old picture frames into something you love!

Did I mention how I adore the tops of these frames? They are so girly with the flowers and the ribbon and just the complete femininity that totally encompasses the whole piece! I digress......

So the first step is to take the backing, picture and glass out of the frame and set them aside.  Then give the frame a good going over with a rag and some soap. Everything from a thrift store seems to have this invisible grit that sticks to the item and your hands every time you touch it! Get all the grit off and then make sure you let the frame dry completely, don't dry it with a towel because then you will have a fuzzy frame and that is just not acceptable!

Once you got it all cleaned up and dried you need to get something to protect the ground from the spray paint. I used the newspaper they wrapped my items up with at the thrift store.  :)  (Penny pincher, remember?) Stephanie's Tips: Don't spray paint anywhere near anyone's car.

Spray a coat on and then let dry for about 10-30 min depending on where you live. We live in a place where it's so dry and so hot that if you stepped out of the shower and went outside you would be completely dry in less than 2 minuets! No kidding!  After the first coat is all dry then you can add the second coat and let dry over night.  Stephanie's Tips: Don't spray paint with your wedding ring on.


I however did the first coat and had to let it dry over night because I had an engagement with friends and couldn't spray the second coat until I got back. When I opened the patio door there was a miserable suprise waiting for me....

Bubbles and cracks in the paint! Oh no! What a horrible thing to of happened! But wait! There is hope! I remember a saying from a scrapbooking retreat; "It's not a mistake, it's a chance to embellish!".  Spray painting is fun, but why pass up a chance to embellish?  It just so happens that a blog I love recently posted something quite similar to what I am doing, but more professional. They did some totally awesome embellishing that I tried out to fix my spray paint boo-boo.  

Click the picture for their how-to step-by-step blog on distressing frames:
Little Birdie Secrets featuring:

So I got out my sandpaper and started scrubbing! 

Half way through I had to stop and run to the store because the one piece of sandpaper that I had basically crumbled to pieces in my fingers! (I had to go to the store anyways to find some tinted glaze since I had none.)  I really like the gold showing through after sanding it down a bit.

Instead of tinted glaze I found some antiquing glaze which was cheaper than the only tinted glaze Lowe's had on hand. It was about $8.00 at Lowe's.

To use this antiquing glaze you must wait until your project is completely dry from the last coat of paint, then you take a paint brush with bristles and basically coat the piece.  Those bristles come in handy when you have little crevices that need a good glob but you just can't seem to reach them with a sponge brush.  Stephanie's Tips: Wear disposable gloves so you don't ruin your manicure.   ;)

 After you have covered the entire piece you take a damp scrap rag and lightly wipe off the excess glaze. It should be stuck in those little crevices and in the lines, to me it kind of looks like two 100 year old frames that were found inside of an old farm house. And that exactly is what I was going for! Let the piece dry for 24 hours then spray with a protective finish to keep your frames looking old!

Clean the glass before you put any pictures in, no water spots for me, no thanks! Make sure they are dry too, no water damaged prints please! I have two friends who recently got married and I wanted to give them these frames since they kind of, in a way, also inspired these antique  Victorian/ Edwardian style frames. I simply used pictures off of their Facebook, downloaded and printed, cut and placed them in the frames. I sure hope they like them! Stephanie's Tips: These make great gifts!


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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Art of Togetherness

It may not be expensive, famous, tasteful, elegant or even properly hung, but it is ours and we made it together, as a family, and that is all that matters.

We live in an apartment and don't have a lot of money. The last thing we spend money on is decorating the place!  I figured we needed art work for our bare white walls that we would never get to paint. 

Now don't get us confused for the artsy type! Oh no! We are far from it!  In fact, I don't even think these painting will last another few moves because we didn't use oil paints or even canvas paint! We used the only kind of paint I had on hand, washable poster paint! (Which was actually a good idea because I was letting my just turned three year old at a paint brush!) I bought the canvases at Hobby Lobby when they were 50% off and a bag of various brushes that I figured would be used till the kids have gray hairs! (Every thing on a dime, remember?) I think the grand total was close to $25 for the canvases, brushes and these little round mirrors that my daughter and I both glued onto the painting after it was all dry. I already had the poster paint, (even that is pretty expensive!)  and I already had a can of  protective acrylic finish. (What kind of crafter doesn't have that item handy at all times?) 

We started by painting the background black a few times, so that our washable poster paints would pop! After letting the black dry we started the art!

Even though we did our art over a year ago my kids still know which painting belongs to whom. And what makes it even more of a joy is that they quiz all of our guests to figure out who's is who's.  

The simi-perfectionist in me (tad ocd) wanted so badly to correct my kids in their art but I held back and gave them full artistic control.  And even though that little pink shirt got paint all over it, I said nothing and just let it all sink in, knowing that our time together doing something for our home ment the world, no only to my husband and myself, but to my kids, who will always remember the time we created art!

Oh, and I forgot to mention that we were in the process of moving, so if you were wondering why there is no table in the dining room and why there are boxes everywhere, now you know. :P

Now go create some art with your kids!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

All In One Place: Pinterest

I am always seeing things on different blogs and websites that I just can't help but want to do. I occasionally have the time and the supplies but once I get booted of the computer or get busy doing other things around the house I totally forget what the website was and didn't get the chance to bookmark it. 

Not any more!

Pinterest is the place to go to organize all those things together. No matter what site it is on or what it is you can "pin" it to your own boards! 

So far I have 4 boards:

CraftinessYard ArtDIY, and Kids Stuff. I am still adding things daily with the most simplest way ever! The "Pin It" Bookmark! If you sign up you can install it just by dragging the "Pin It" button to your tool bar.

Now whenever I come across something I really want to try on my own or do with the kids I just "pin it" and it goes straight into the board I want! Now I don't have to remember where that sticky note went, or which folder under my bookmarks I placed it in! Plus, there are so many people that already have stuff pinned! So if I need inspiration all I have to do is look under whatever category I want, then re-pin it into my own board! 

I can't wait to get started on all the stuff I want to do! Now if only I can get my craft area organized! Such is life!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My BBF- Best Bike Friend

Schwinn Windwood Women's Cruiser Bike (26-Inch Wheels, Pink) I recently got a bike. It's my best bike friend. I think it's because it gives me a reason to take a break from life (kids, chores, and all that stresses me out).  It really does keep my stress levels down! I feel more relaxed and ready to face those messy kids (yes, even the ornery two year old!) and even conquer that massive pile of laundry and dishes!

After riding around the neighborhood a few times I realized that people are, truly, and naturally creative and it shows in the most obvious of places; their own front yards! I have seen things that I would never of thought to do. 

So in honor of front yard (and even alleyway) art work, I will now be posting weekly installments, on Thursdays, of;  Color of a Mommy introduces: Yard Art.

It's the first thing people see when they come to your home; the front yard (or back yard; depending on where guests enter your home; at my grandma's house everyone enters through the back door). What do you want the first thing people see to say about you?

Now technically this is not yard art because I didn't find it in someone's yard or even on personal property; but I really liked it and thought that the saying was inspirational.   I do not however condone defacement of public property nor graffiti of any kind on property that is not legally yours; this is illegal and shouldn't be done. That being said and out of the way, art can be found anywhere. This was the first thing I found on my very first bike ride and I thought that it needed to be documented in some form and out of that idea flowed the idea for creating a yard art blog post once a week on fun items that I found on my bike rides. 

So wait no longer! Here is the first installment of Yard Art:

A creature with an idea? Maybe he figured out how to manage his depth perception considering his one eye and all.

A depiction of a cave painting of a sun?

Dey even gotz da bling!

My husband's interpretation is and I quote: " Nature show with a zebra close 

I don't even know what to say!!? What do you think? What is your interpretation? 

I hope you enjoyed the first installment of Yard Art and hope you enjoy the many more postings to come!